Top 10 Crazy Movie Doctors You Can’t Miss

Doctors in cinema rarely save lives, in fact, much of the time they only make life more difficult! It’s more fun that way! Here’s 10 crazy movie doctors – from Doc Brown to Hannibal Lecter – you simply can’t miss…

10. Dr. Josef Heiter – (The Human Centipede: First Sequence, 2009)

The Human Centipede, Josef Heiter, Top 10 Films, Crazy Movie Doctors, It probably comes as some surprise to see The Human Centipede appear on a top 10 list (unless that list is referring to the worst cinema has to offer) but in this case it is undoubtedly justifiable. That’s because we are talking about crazy doctors and one of the craziest is kidnap and torture fetishist Dr. Josef Heiter. This guy has visions of the “human centipede” so surgically conjoins three very unfortunate individuals to each other by way of their rear passages (to put it as mildly as possible).

9. Doc Brown – (Back To The Future, 1985)

Crazy Movie Doctors, Top 10 Films, Doc Brown, Back To The Future, With his white, frizzed mop of hair, Christopher Lloyd’s lovable Doc. Brown is an eccentric creator of time-travel. Problem is, he’s powered his device with Plutonium nabbed from a bunch of terrorists and they are understandably miffed. When they track him down to reclaim their agent of destruction, Doc. Brown’s closest friend, teenager Marty McFly is sent back in time. There he must save not only his life by ensuring his mother and father meet and fall in love, but figure out a way to save the Doc’s life knowing that in the future he has just left behind, his friend is shot and killed.

8. Dr. Jekyll (Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931)

Jekyll and Hyde, Top 10 Films, Crazy Movie Doctors, We go back to 1931 for this crazy doctor as Henry Jekyll finds out just what his evil side looks like when Edward Hyde emerges from within after he takes an experimental drug. Fredric March, in a much celebrated role, plays both Jekyll and Hyde with the doctor’s initial transformation being one of the great moments of studio era fantasy cinema.

7. “Hawkeye” & “Trapper John” (MASH, 1970)

MASH, Donald Sutherland, Elliott, Gould, Top 10 Films, Crazy Movie Doctors, Inflammatory in their antics and adverse to authority, Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould’s military doctors in Robert Altman’s MASH are, however, the sort of guys you’d want in a life or death situation. Why? Because if they didn’t save you, they’d probably at least make you laugh. “This isn’t a hospital, it’s an insane asylum!”

6. Dr. Michael Michael Hfuhruhurr – (The Man With Two Brains, 1983)

Steve Martin, Man With Two Brains, Top 10 Films, Crazy Movie Doctors, Steve Martin is the crazy doctor in Carl Reiner’s brilliant 1983 comedy The Man with Two Brains. His antics as a pioneering brain surgeon see him save the life of the beautiful Dolores Benedict (Kathleen Turner) who he proceeds to marry. However, she turns out to be a gold-digging sociopath who the doctor eventually leaves after falling in love with a disembodied brain which he carries around in a jar. I did say “crazy” didn’t I!

5. Beverly Mantle / Elliot Mantle (Dead Ringers, 1988)

Dead Ringers, Cronenberg, Top 10 Films, Not one mad doctor, but two! Jeremy Irons plays Beverly and Elliot Mantle in David Cronenberg’s psychological mind-bender Dead Ringers. The two men abuse their position as leading gynaecologists by seducing the women who come into their care, where the more confident Elliot has first dibs before he passes them to the more reserved twin Beverly. When Beverly becomes romantically attached to one of the conquests, the brother’s relationship is thrown into turmoil. Beverly, for example, has visions of mutant women attacking him with abnormal genitalia prompting him to develop bizarre surgical instruments to combat these abnormalities.

4. Dr. Carl Hill (Re-Animator, 1985 + Bride Of Re-Animator, 1990)

Carl Hill, Reanimator, Top 10 Films, Crazy Movie Doctors, David Gale is the loopy doctor in 1985’s Re-Animator, a fun, madcap horror-comedy combining elements of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead with Universal’s classic Frankenstein. Dr. Hill, after being killed and decapitated by Jeffrey Combs’ eccentric research student Herbert West, finds himself reanimated thanks to West’s revolutionary re-agent. Taking his opportunity to escape, Hill, with his head carried around blindly by his headless body, decides to wreak havoc by reanimating and controlling the corpses he finds at the local morgue to carry out his bidding.

3. Dr. Lecter (Silence Of The Lambs, 1990 + Sequel/Prequels/Remakes)

Silence of the Lambs, Lecter, Anthony Hopkins, Top 10 Films,What’s for dinner? On Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter’s menu it would probably be you. Sir Anthony Hopkins is terrifyingly calculated in his role as the psychiatric doctor with a penchant for human flesh. His heart-stopping, icy stare is enough to make Lecter a terrifying creation but, when the opportunity arises to escape imprisonment, his ghastly method to relinquish himself of confinement highlights a frightening intelligence beneath such incomprehensible madness.

2. Dr. Frankenstein (Frankenstein, 1931 + many other incarnations)

Crazy Movie Doctors, Top 10 Films, Frankenstein, The greatest of the “mad scientists” from Universal Pictures’ much-loved 1931 classic Frankenstein. The well-known tale sees Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his hunchbacked assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye) piece together a human body and give it life. “It’s ALIVE!”

1. Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade etc., 1981- )

Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford,What!? You thought all doctors had to be medical professionals. Think again. Who else could top a list of crazy movie doctors but daredevil archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). By day he’s a teacher of history and the apple in the eye of Marshall College’s entire female student body; by night, he’s the adventurous seeker of antiquities, the globe-trotting, whip-swishing hero, and the fly in Hitler’s ointment.
MORE: Top 10 Harrison Ford In Peril Films

Written & Compiled by Daniel Stephens

Over to you: what crazy movie doctors have left an impression on you?

About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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    movie dude Reply

    the human centipede creeped me the hell out.

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      Dan Reply

      It did creep me out but for all the wrong reasons. Sure, Heiter is a “crazy” doctor but the film was the cinematic equivalent of that annoying sticky thing you sometimes get on your shoe.

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    Barbara Reply

    Fun list. I didn’t expect your number. My immediate thought was Hannibal Lecter – Hopkins is so great in that movie.

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      Dan Reply

      Thanks Barbara. As much as the medical profession gives us some great “crazies”, it’s the archaeology department that gives us the craziest!

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    Callum Reply

    Very funny, Dan! Love this one.

    I didn’t see Indiana Jones coming but he sure is CRAZY! Who’d jump out of a plane by inflating a life raft while hurtling to the ground!

    Good call on Carl Hill and Josef Heiter – they’re as crazy as they come!

    I still haven’t seen Steve Martin’s The Man With Two Brains – I’ve heard good things though.

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      Dan Reply

      Thanks Callum. The Man with Two Brains is great fun and one of Steve Martin’s best.

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    Alison Groves Reply

    The doctor in the Cannonball Run movies would fit the bill too.

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      Dan Reply

      Haha… yes, good one! 🙂

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    ArchE Reply

    I applaud the call for the Mantle twins – not least because Jeremy Irons is incredible but that David Cronenberg deserves to be on more top 10s!

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      Dan Reply

      Thanks ArchE. Yes, when Cronenberg gets it right, he produces some astonishingly good work. Dead Ringers is definitely one of his best efforts.

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    Lynxcess Reply

    Love the man with two brains, Steve Martin at his best.

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      Dan Reply

      Totally agree.

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    Paul Reply

    Dr Herbert West from Re-Animator could be another good option. Him and Hill give each other a run for their money in the crazy doctor stakes.

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      Gave them both a lot of thought but felt Hill just edged the “craziness”.

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    Marc Dalesandro Reply

    ‏Cool list!

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      Thanks Marc.

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    Louise Reply

    Dr Jed Hill in Malice. An under-rated Sorkin thriller. Alec Baldwin has a great line: “You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something. I am God.”

    Love the inclusion of Hawkeye and Trapper John.

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      Dan Reply

      That’s a great addition, Louise. And I’m a big fan of Malice – a great little thriller but almost un-Sorkin-esque when compared to his more recent TV work.

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    Michael Scoates Reply

    I’ve always been a fan of Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein, Peter Sellers as Dr Strangelove and more recently Jennifer Aniston’s Dr Julia Harris from Horrible Bosses. Steve Martin could technically appear twice (crazy dentist in Little Shop of Horrors).

    Hannibal Lecter wins the number one spot by a nose. Truly terrifying.

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      Dan Reply

      Interesting choice to include Jennifer Aniston but I’m definitely in agreement that it’s one of her most noteworthy performances. Finally she is able to extricate herself from the shackles of her Friends persona Rachel.

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    Will Kouf Reply

    If dentists count, Corbin Bernsen is wickedly deranged in The Dentist and its sequel The Dentist 2: Brace Yourself.

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      Dan Reply

      Dentists definitely count. I remember a deranged one from Little Shop of Horrors with a certain Mr Steve Martin too!

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    Len Peterson Reply

    Steve Martin as the deranged dentist in Little Shop of Horrors would make two for Martin. I also like the shout for the Cannonball Run guy.

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      Dan Reply

      Yep – he’s brilliant in Little Shop, my favourite bit of the film.

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    Film Heat Reply

    strangelove and no are my favourites! Must have a thing for deranged people…

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      Dan Reply

      Dr. No is a definite contender and Dr. Strangelove has to be one of the most memorable.

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    David Robson Reply

    Rotwang, “cause of the name. Also set vogue for metal hands: burned for trying to touch God.

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    Dez Wilkes Reply

    I’d suggest all the doctors from the films with “doctor” in the title might be worthy of this list – Strangelove, Doolittle, Caligari, No plus Carry on Doctor! 😉

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    CineGirl Reply

    Wonderful top 10, Dan. Dead Ringers, Re-Animator and The Silence of the Lambs would be my favourite films/doctors. I guess you could include all the Docs from Re-Animator and how about Dr. Chiltern from Lambs because of his treatment of Lecter (he was asking for trouble!).

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      Dan Reply

      Thanks CineGirl. Chiltern definitely underestimated Lecter!

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    Canucklehead Reply

    Doctor Detroit & Fraulein Doktor.

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      Dan Reply

      Ah, Doctor Detroit, haven’t seen that in years. Good choice!

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    Andrew Reply

    This list is pretty awesome! Love all these mentions, especially the MASH one!

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      Dan Reply

      Thanks Andrew.

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    Ruth Reply

    Fun idea for a list and lots of interesting choices there. You’re right doctor isn’t just a medical profession, so love the inclusion of Indiana Jones! I still need to see Dead Ringers too, double Jeremy Irons can’t be bad!

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      Dan Reply

      Thanks Ruth.

      Dead Ringers is one of the Cronenberg must-sees if you ask me.

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    Wendell Reply

    Definitely didn’t see Indy coming, but I totally get it. Nice call. Love the call on Re-Animator. What a wild movie. Steve Martin as the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors would make my list. R he one who might top my list is the kook played by Antonio Banderas in The Skin I Live In. Btw, he may not be a real doctor, but I’d probably find a spot for Dr. Giggles, too. Great list.

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      Dan Reply

      Brilliant addition Wendell. I thought The Skin I Live In was a terrific film.

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    Dan Grant Reply

    Dan, you rock buddy. Love the list and love your number one.

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      Thanks Dan! 🙂

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    Mark Fraser Reply

    Funny list ….

    The Human Centipede actually made a top 10 I did on medical experiments going awry (a most hideous film to be sure – I waited until the house was empty before I watched it – but it ends up being kiddies’ stuff when compared to it’s even more repulsive sequel, where the centipeder isn’t even a doctor).

    Others from that list who are pretty loopy include Graham Crowden in Britannia Hospital, Gregory Peck (as Mengele) in The Boys From Brazil, Dyann Thorne in Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (at least I think she’s a doctor)and Richard Liberty in Dawn of the Dead.

    Another possible contender is Ian Holm as Sir William Gull/Jack the Ripper in From Hell. He might be retired, but he hasn’t lost the knack for chopping bodies up. There’s also that Maher guy from The Evil That Men Do.

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      Dan Reply

      Thanks Mark. Yep, Peck in The Boys From Brazil is another of my favourites too.

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    Mysterious Bibliophile Reply

    Great list! The Human Centipede is one of those movies I absolutely refuse to watch. 🙂

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    Andy Reply

    How about Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2, certainly crazy although Jack Elam as Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing in The Cannonball Run is my all time favourite crazy doc.

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    Evan Crean Reply

    I was going to say that Doc Brown would be my number 1, until I got to the bottom of your list and saw Dr. Henry Jones Jr. As a HUGE Indy fan, he’d top my list too. I’m glad to see that Dr. Lecter and Dr. Frankenstein also made the cut. Still haven’t seen The Human Centipede to comment on Dr. Josef Heiter’s presence, but I’m kind of glad I haven’t. Any time I watch just the trailer I start to feel ill.

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    Jacqueline Jj Reply

    dr jekyll and mr hyde will be number one in my list, is a true classic and i think i may be the only who get a harleen quinnzel/harley quinn reference in it because she is my favorite dc character of all time.

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